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NLG-SFBA | Programs

Santa Rita Jail Hotline

Santa Rita needs to evolve its systems and methods away from this punitive and demoralizing jail system with inhumane treatment of citizens and drug addicts to a modernized system and methods of restorative justice! The jail needs to end its culture of cruelty. The current system does not make our communities any safer! To the contrary, it makes them less secure! Inmates leaving the jail are not better for having been in jail. We need to build people up, make them productive and restore their health and vitality.

– Collective Grievance signed by Santa Rita Jail prisoners, March 17, 2020

If you or a loved one have been impacted by conditions inside Santa Rita Jail, you can email by clicking the ‘SRJ Hotline Email’ or use the Quick Link below to call immediately.

Quick Links

Since early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has infected thousands of people in the Bay Area and has profoundly changed life as we know it, both in and out of custody: from the ability to go out in public, to the right to a speedy trial. Conditions inside the Alameda County Santa Rita Jail were at a crisis point long before coronavirus entered the jail in April. These conditions plus the increase in isolation have made life more difficult for everyone whether or not they are sick.

In July 2020, the National Lawyers Guild launched a free hotline for anyone who would like to call to discuss the coronavirus or conditions inside Santa Rita Jail. The hotline conducts phone intakes and corresponds with prisoners who have a variety of concerns:

  • Unsafe and unsanitary conditions, including a lack of access to protective equipment for those incarcerated and lack of use of it by Guards
  • Lack of transparency during the coronavirus pandemic
  • Food that is inadequate or contaminated
  • Inadequate testing and medical care
  • Inability to access Economic Impact Payments (EIP) during the coronavirus pandemic
  • Forced labor
  • Lack of support upon release
  • Excessive costs and price gouging of phone calls and basic supplies

Solutions to the above concerns and the ultimate liberation of our communities will not be achieved through legal means alone. To this end, the NLG-SF Santa Rita Jail Hotline is also intended to facilitate communication between legal, advocacy and movement work.

The NLG-SFBA has brought together a team of civil rights and criminal defense attorneys to inform our advocacy and legal response to the needs and demands of hotline callers and provide support and consultation to our hotline workers. We also work with individual public defenders committed to supporting their clients in being treated with dignity and in the protection of basic civil and human rights.

Our primary community partner for the hotline is the Santa Rita Jail Solidarity, a collaborative testimony-gathering project consisting of Alameda County residents and community advocates who are committed to prisoner solidarity and greater transparency around conditions inside the jail. The Santa Rita Jail Solidarity website has published prisoner grievances, testimonies, and updates on jail conditions since a prisoner strike which occurred in October of 2019.

Other community partners include the California Coalition for Women Prisoners, the Ella Baker Center, Decarcerate Oakland, Do No Harm, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, Transgender Advocate Group, Transgender Gender Variant Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP).

Volunteer-Run Hotline

The Santa Rita Jail Hotline is staffed by volunteer hotline workers who are not attorneys. The National Lawyers Guild cannot assist with your criminal case. Please do not plan to discuss any confidential information about your impending case, nor anything that could incriminate you over a phone line that may be recorded.

Hotline workers can:

  • Contact your defense attorney
  • Appeal your treatment or conditions of confinement to public officials
  • Provide you with more information about your rights, including your rights during the coronavirus pandemic
  • Use the information you provide about jail conditions to advocate for you and/or others
  • Share your testimony with the public or with attorneys who have lawsuits against the jail
  • Discuss your concerns about a loved one who is currently inside Santa Rita Jail
  • Write to your loved one to share information and resources

 

What happens when you call the Hotline:

Hotline Workers can conduct an intake; connect you with resources; and, with your consent, work with you to publish your testimony. The information callers provide will be used to advocate on their behalf, and to demand changes in the conditions inside of the jail. We cannot guarantee the confidentiality of calls.

Santa Rita Updates from SRJSolidarity.org

The National Lawyers Guild

The adopted resolutions supporting the abolition of police and prisons.